Look at your three scores.
The natural tendency is to pick the lowest of the three risk numbers and hope for the best. Or to focus on the highest number and worry about the worst case scenario. Try not to do either. Let’s get the big picture. This is the last page. You’re almost done. Stick with us.
There’s one problem with the science.
These studies did not include stroke risk
The scientific studies on the risk of calcium scores only tested for heart events, not strokes. A heart event is a heart attack or sudden cardiac death. Cardiovascular events include stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac death. So your actual CV event risk is higher than your risk for heart events.
Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. Heart attack is the biggest killer. Stroke is the biggest cause of disability.
How do we adjust for stroke risk?
We take your lowest risk number and double it. Do that. Write down that new number. And then cross out your previous low number. Forget about that one. We want to think about CV risk, not just heart risk.
Now using all 3 numbers. look at the range between the lowest and highest risk numbers. Your CV risk (including stroke) will be between the lowest and the highest risk estimates.
normal (low or safe) cv risk:
Normal risk is a 10 year risk less than 7.5%. It is important to know that people in the low risk category can still have events. Low risk doesn’t mean no risk.
Moderately high 10 year cv risk:
Moderately high risk is between 7.6% and 19%. Moderately high risk can be twice as high as normal risk. For moderate risk, statin drugs and aggressive treatment of risk factors are recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
HIgh cv risk:
High risk is 10 year risk over 20%. Having a 1 year risk of 25% is extremely high risk. People in the high risk category need the most aggressive treatment program available.
Low risk (and sometimes moderate risk) patients can often reduce their risk by simply eating and exercising well. But everyone with high risk needs medications.
And remember this: your risk is not the end of the story. Your risk does not determine your future. It can. But not if you determine your future. You can reduce your risk. A lot.
Talk to your doctor.
The most important question a doctor can ask is: “Is my treatment plan working or not?”
The most important question a patient can ask is:
“Am I getting better? Or worse?”
To answer that question we offer a 3-month ultrasound-based artery trending program we call “Ask the Arteries.”
Feel free to call us. We specialize in high risk patients who aren’t responding to conventional therapy. Who has the highest risk? Heart attack survivors. Check out our statistics with heart attack survivors.
One more thing:
Are you having chest discomfort? Shortness of breath when exerting? When walking up a flight of stairs? Do you get nauseated or dizzy when you exert yourself? Or do you have arm or shoulder or neck pain when physically active?
If you are having symptoms that might be heart disease, go to the Emergency Room or call your doctor without delay.